Wildfires were common hundreds of years ago when much of America was still wild and undeveloped, and Native Americans used fire to rejuvenate the soil, move wildlife and restore areas for their crops.
Today, some folks see fires as terrible but don’t understand the beneficial impact the process of a good, controlled fire has on the land and vegetation. Prescribed burning is a great way to help your property along with eliminating the build-up of leaf litter that eventually becomes powerful fuel burning so hotly that it could damage older trees or get out of control.
State agencies help provide information for controlled burns to landowners. Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks is continuing its partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, Wildlife Mississippi, and others to provide cost-share for prescribed burning on private lands.
Since its inception in 2011, the “Fire on the Forty” program has provided cost-share funding for prescribed burning on more than 23,000 acres in north and south Mississippi.
Prescribed fire is a very important tool for forest and wildlife management, but many private landowners are reluctant to use it because of cost and liability concerns. As part of the “Fire on the Forty” initiative, the partnership will reimburse burning projects in selected focal counties for up to 50 percent of costs for implementing and performing a prescribed burn.
These focal counties include Lowndes, Monroe, Noxubee, and Prentiss in north Mississippi and Amite, Covington, Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, Pike, and Walthall in south Mississippi.
New for this funding cycle, longleaf pine forests, especially young plantations, within the historic range of longleaf pine are eligible for funding through additional grants. For more information or to view a map of focal areas visit www.mdwfp.com/fireontheforty.
Landowners must submit an application for entry into the program prior to Oct. 15 to be considered for this year’s funding. All applications will be competitively ranked based on potential habitat benefits for wildlife. Funding for the “Fire on the Forty” initiative is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Mississippi Forestry Commission, and the National Wild Turkey Federation.
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